Don't Miss a Thing
Free Updates by Email

Enter your email address


preview  |  powered by FeedBlitz

RSS Feeds

Share |

Facebook: Seth's Facebook
Twitter: @thisissethsblog

Search

Google


WWW SETH'S BLOG

SETH'S BOOKS

Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list

all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

free.prize.inside

Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

linchpin

Linchpin

An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

poke.the.box

Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

purple.cow

Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

small.is.the.new.big

Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.big.moo

The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.dip

The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.icarus.deception

The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

tribes

Tribes

"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

unleashing.the.ideavirus

Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

v.is.for.vulnerable

V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

whatcha.gonna.do.with.that.duck

Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:


THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 08/2003

« Some books | Main | Choice »

Thinking outside the (eBay) search box

More than a million people sell on eBay regularly, and by some estimates, more than half a million people do it as their full-time job.

The prevailing wisdom is this:

  • Sell a commodity
  • Sell it cheap
  • Do good enough customer service that you have high ratings
  • Wait for your fair share of search traffic

So, a prospect goes to eBay, types in "Elmo" and sees all the listings. Common sense tells the prospect to find the cheapest one from an acceptably rated bidder. The end result is average stuff sold to average people for slightly below average prices. The long tail kicks in and there's a business! eBay does its share by putting a part of its profits to work in promotion and in affiliate programs and in ads on Google, etc.

You, loyal reader, can already guess what's coming: average stuff for average people is no way to make a living. In fact, the big eBay success stories, the ones that people talk about, are the Alan Greenspan paintings, the grilled cheese sandwich that looks like the Virgin Mary, or the woman who sold the Pokemon cards for a fortune, etc. In other words, buzzable stuff. Unique stuff. Remarkable stuff. Stuff that got sold despite the search box, not because of it.

That's all fine if you're running a circus sideshow, but what about the hundreds of thousands of people that just want to sell typical stuff and don't have great copywriting talent? They need a different strategy, one that gets them attention off eBay and builds an asset they can profit from.

7 years ago I helped a friend at Yahoo by writing a short book about the short-lived Yahoo auctions business. I argued that the asset sellers should build is permission. That the way to make a living as a seller on eBay is to have a list of people who want to get a weekly or monthly email from you outlining your latest and greatest auctions. And to do that, you need a specialty, you need to be real and you need to be trusted.

If I collected Fiestaware, for example, I'd look forward to an update from a trusted source on her (and everyone else's) Fiestaware auctions, sorted by desirability.

Instead of running a rolling garage sale, you need to become an expert. Someone who is seen as knowing what they're talking about, and someone who can reach out to possible buyers instead of waiting for them to find you.

Chestnut_logo2 I'm selling my treasured canoe on eBay. Without this blog, it's really unlikely that I'd get even a bid or two on it. Of course, if every eBay seller had a blog like mine, they'd be fine, because they could just post their auctions as I just did, and they'd get plenty of traffic. But building thousands of blog posts over nearly a decade is a lot of investment just to sell a canoe.

For the seller who doesn't have that asset, we've just launched SquidBids.

Here's the page I built about my canoe auction.

It doesn't work so well if you're doing what I'm doing, which is selling just one item. But imagine that someone decides to specialize in antique teaspoons or even bulldog puppies... the idea is to build a blog, a twitter following, a FaceBook social graph, and even a SquidBids page that:

  • establishes your reputation
  • earns you a following
  • gives you a tool to notify people about new listings

The goal, to make a really long post short, is to create an environment where people will pay extra because it's you who's doing the selling. And that happens when you give your audience things. Give them information and access and insight. Point to auctions that aren't even yours... if it's good stuff.

This feels hard. It takes time. But it's far far easier and more profitable then wishing and hoping that someone stumbles onto you. If selling on eBay is actually your business, you need to start setting out the breadcrumbs that make you worth more than the next guy.

It always comes down to human nature. We'd rather buy from a friend.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b31569e200e54f0577388834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Thinking outside the (eBay) search box:

« Some books | Main | Choice »